To Be Honest . . . with Chandler Eaton

To Be Honest . . . with Chandler Eaton

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To be honest, I think everyone needs to stop using “the struggle” to define their issues. I hear it said around William Jewell College’s campus constantly, and I don’t think many of us even know what “the struggle” really is. I understand that the term was originally a hyperbolic statement deriving from sarcasm, but lately I hear a lot of students use it as a way to complain about mundane personal problems without taking worldly perspectives into consideration. I’m not going to be hypocritical about this; I used to say “it’s the struggle” frequently, but one day the winds changed, and I realized how narrow minded I was being.

It appeared to be a day like any other. I was eating in the cafeteria and I overheard a mountain-of-a-football player say, “Ah man, I ate way too much food. It’s the struggle.” It was the ignorance of this statement that upset me.

“No, actually. The real struggle is that people in developing countries are starving to death because they don’t have food. How would they feel to hear you complain?” I said, in my internal monologue of course. Seeing as I am 5’5″ with the upper body strength of a prepubescent X-Box addict, the outcome of me in a fight with a football player would not be pretty.

However, I had an epiphany of sorts. We are living in a free country getting a superb education with plenty to eat on our plates. We have no clue what the struggle is. After that day, I began listening to my fellow students to observe how they defined “the struggle.”

Personal Problem from an unnamed student in the Pryor Learning Commons: I was awake until 6 a.m. watching “American Horror Story” and then slept through my physics class, but the show is so good! It’s a struggle.

Real Struggle: According to the International Labour Organization, an estimated 250 million children in developing countries between the ages of 5 and 14 are trapped in forced labor, often in sweatshops where they are denied an education and basic human rights. If they had the option to learn, they would not waste it or complain. Everyone dies in “American Horror Story” anyway, so go do your homework instead of watching Netflix.

Personal Problem from a first-year female: I literally get no guy’s attention here. The struggle is real and I’ll be alone forever.

Real Struggle: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported 1.2 million women and girls are trafficked into prostitution throughout India. Instead of complaining about guys, be thankful for your freedom. Girls trapped in sex slavery wish they didn’t receive the male attention that they do.

My goal is not to hate on my fellow students; rather, I am challenging everyone to widen their perspectives and limit their complaints. Every student at WJC has been blessed to receive an iPad this year, but are you using it to its full potential? You have gaming apps for when the lectures drone on, and you may even have the oh-so-classy Tindr in the hopes of finding a disease-free true love for the night, but how many informative news apps do you have? The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and The New Yorker are all free publications on the Newsstand app. Try reading an article every other day and see how your perspective changes. Hopefully you will see the real struggles of this world as a personal challenge to rise up and make a difference.

I know many people will continue to say “the struggle” just to spite me. I don’t mind because there are bigger problems in this world than immaturity. I just hope that the next time you say “the struggle” you appreciate the fact that you have freedoms and your biggest complaint is the caf food.



  1. There’s no such thing as “the struggle” unless you want to refer to life in general. EVERYONE has struggles they go through. Obviously the plight of someone forced into prostitution is worse than someone who can’t get a date. That doesn’t mean that feeling lonely isn’t a legitimate struggle for that person.

    You say you want to challenge us as readers to widen our perspectives. Here’s a challenge on perspective for you: how can you be sure that the people you mentioned say “the struggle” did so without hyperbole or taking world problems into consideration? Do you honestly think that someone who complains about eating too much doesn’t know that there are children starving in Africa (as I’m sure most people heard from their parents at some point at the dinner table)?

    Yes, complaining too much is annoying, especially when so many of us at Jewell DO have so much to be grateful for. But you can’t know what’s going on inside people’s minds when they talk about “struggling”, whether they’re serious or not, or what is occurring in their personal lives that makes something a PERSONAL struggle.

    Millions of people die every year from lack of basic necessities most people in this country take for granted. It’s horrible. But that does not mean that the frustration I feel when the technology I am privileged to have does not work when I rely on it to for homework is unfounded. Is it the end of the world? No. Could worse things happen? Obviously. Is it still a problem I have to try to work through? Yes.

    There is always someone worse off. Don’t try to use their struggles to deny mine.

  2. I guess they don’t teach the use of irony in casual conversations in CTI anymore. What a waste of 637 words; there are people in Africa that would love that op-ed opportunity. Overall, a very arrogant and poor article. I love those cute-ass boots though.

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